With artificial intelligence (AI) becoming more sophisticated, now is the time to start taking it seriously as a career path. This is especially true now that the technology is advancing and increasing in accessibility. In fact, tech giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce are all making their AI and machine learning technologies more affordable and readily available for B2B and B2C companies to integrate into their existing infrastructures. For example, Salesforce’s release of myEinstein enables admins and developers to build custom AI apps across Salesforce without any coding necessary. These trends will ultimately create 2.3 million new jobs in artificial intelligence by 2020, according to a recent report by Gartner.
“AI-led automation will allow businesses across all industries—ranging from financial services to retail— to become more efficient,” explains Mandy Hills, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “While there is concern that this may lead to some job cuts, all it really means is that the jobs are changing. That’s why it’s important to stay informed of these trends and ensure you are keeping your skills up-to-date with evolving technology.”
Since these jobs in artificial intelligence are so new, employers are open to transferable skills when hiring. Here are three in-demand roles and the skills required of them:
Machine Learning Engineer: A strong candidate will not only have experience with programming languages such as Python, C++, and Java, but will also understand a broad set of algorithms and be proficient in probability and statistics. Strong analytical and problem solving skills can also set you apart from other candidates.
Data Scientist: Since data scientists are generally responsible for collecting, cleaning, and interpreting the data, an IT professional with a background in statistics and applied mathematics (distributions, statistical testing, regression, etc.) is typically a good fit for this role. In addition to some of the programming languages listed above, it’s also helpful to be proficient in an analytical tool such as R or SAS.
Business Intelligence Developer: Since this role involves designing, developing and deploying AI solutions as well as presenting the data, it requires both a development and business analyst background. Since you’ll need to articulate how these solutions impact the bottom line, strong business knowledge and communications skills are a must.
Beyond proving you have the technical skills needed to transition into an AI role, here are a few other ways to get more acquainted with this field:
Online Tutorials + Training Courses: Learning a new skill takes time and effort, and online tutorials and training courses can serve as a great resource. Doing so, also shows prospective employers that you took the initiative to learn a new skill on your own—something that will give them confidence in your ability to adapt to quickly changing business needs and ensure the company stays up-to-date with evolving tech trends.
Your Local Tech Community: One of the advantages of working in a major tech hub like New York City or Boston, for example, is that you have access to a wide network of like-minded professionals. “One of the best ways to learn about emerging trends and connect with industry-related leaders is to get active in your local tech community,” advises Mandy. “For example, you can search for user groups that are relevant to artificial intelligence on a site like meetup.com to learn about any upcoming events or networking opportunities.”
Project-based work: For IT professionals hoping to make the leap into AI, there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience through short-term assignments or projects. Since these jobs in artificial intelligence are available across different industries and employers, you can gain exposure to a diverse range of AI software. Not only can this work help you keep your skills sharp in an evolving field, but it also provides you with the flexibility to determine the best long term fit for you.